The University of Miami’s Equality Administration seeks to embrace diversity and strengthen our community across local, national and global settings. In an educational institution, the diversity of experience, diversity of opinion and diversity of culture background not only enrich our quest for knowledge, they are vital to our success.
We recognize the importance of honoring differences year-round by creating an inclusive environment that fosters appreciation and respect for the varied celebrations related to holidays and other events. Our Diversity Calendar list holidays, various celebrations, festivals and holy days drawn from a variety of sources and we hope that it will serve as a catalyst for cooperation and learning.
Emancipation Proclamation (1863): United States. On this date Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in territories of the Confederacy.
Independence Day: Haiti. This day commemorates Haiti’s gaining independence from France in 1804 as a result of the only successful slave revolt in history.
New Year's Day: International. New Year's Day is the only secular holiday that the entire world observes regardless of race or religious beliefs. It is based on the solar calendar established by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 and adopted by most countries. However, many Orthodox Eastern churches continue to use the earlier Julian calendar with the New Year falling on January 14.
Epiphany: Christian. Twelve days after Christmas the three kings arrived in Bethlehem with gifts for the baby Jesus. Called Twelfth Night in English, it was once celebrated throughout Europe with feasts and frolics. In England today old traditions are reviving in Twelfth Night parties marking the end to the Christmas season. In Spain, Mexico, and other Hispanic countries of the Americas the holiday, called Día de los Tres Magos, or simply Tres Reyes, was never abandoned.
Three Kings Day (Día de los Tres Magos): Puerto Rico. This traditional holiday corresponds to the Christian Feast of Epiphany. It commemorates the arrival in Bethlehem of the three kings, or Magi. Traditionally, children leave straw or grass under their beds and find a gift in its place in the morning.
Martyrs' Day: Panama. This marks the January 9, 1964 riots over sovereignty of the Panama Canal Zone. After three days of fighting, about 22 Panamanians and four U.S. citizens were killed. The incident is considered to be a significant factor in the U.S. decision to transfer control of the Canal Zone to Panama through the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties.
Makar Sankranti: Hindu.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day: United States. National observance of Dr. King's birthday.
Hiram Revels (1822-1901): African American. Legislator and university president. In 1870 Revels became the first African American elected to the United States Senate when he was chosen to fill the Mississippi seat vacated by Jefferson Davis. After serving his term in the Senate, he became president of Alcorn University in Mississippi. He died on this date.
T'u B'Shvat (Jewish)
Martyrs' Day: Nepal. This public holiday commemorates the deaths in 1942 of four Nepalese martyrs who spoke out against the ruling Rana family.
African American History Month. In 1926 Dr. Carter Woodson instituted a week-long celebration of the contributions of African Americans to history. Dr. Woodson chose the week of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. In recent years the observance has expanded, and now the entire month of February is celebrated as African American History Month. Because of the variation in terms used, this month is also known as Afro-American History or Black History and Black Experience Month.
Candlemas: Christian. This religious holiday originated with the ancient Jewish custom that required mothers to present their first male child in the temple. As a Jewish mother, Mary would have presented Jesus on February 2. The day is associated with light and purification. The holiday takes its name from the custom of blessing the church’s supply of candles for the year on this date.
New Year (Gao Nian): China This is the beginning of a three-day celebration of the Chinese New Year, although traditionally the New Year celebration extends for fifteen days until the Lantern Festival. The festivities mark the beginning of year 4708 (The Year of the Tiger) since the mythical founding of the Chinese people.
Constitution Day: Mexico.
St. Maroon’s Day: Lebanon. Public holiday.
Lincoln’s Birthday: United States. This day commemorates the birth of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), one of the greatest presidents of the United States, who changed the course of history by preserving the American Union during the Civil War. On this day, wreath-laying ceremonies are held at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site in Hodgenville, Kentucky, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and at Lincoln’s tomb in Springfield, Illinois.
Valentine’s Day: United States. The origins of this day are confused. There appear to have been two or three early Christian martyrs named Valentine. One was probably executed on February 14. One man named Valentine secretly married young sweethearts in opposition to the Roman Emperor Claudius’ ban on marriage (a policy designed to prevent young men of military age from forming family ties). Another legend mentions flowers grown by Valentine and given to children. When Valentine was imprisoned the children remembered him by throwing nosegays and notes into his prison window. These were the original Valentine greetings.
Liberation Day: Afghanistan.
International Mother Language Day: United Nations. This day was proclaimed by UNESCO on November 17, 1999 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and to celebrate the nearly six thousand languages spoken in the world today. It is observed on February 21 in international recognition of Language Martyrs’ Day in Bangladesh. (See following entry for Martyrs’ Day (Shaheed Dibash).)
Washington’s Birthday (Presidents’ Day): United States. The birthday of George Washington (1732-1799), hero of the Revolutionary War, president of the Constitutional Convention, and first president of the United States of America, is observed on this day.
Flag Day: Mexico. Public holiday.
Independence Day: Estonia.
National Day (2/25-2/26): Kuwait. Also observed on February 26, this two-day holiday marks the successful pushing back of Iraqi troops from Kuwait during the Gulf War in 1991.
Independence Day: Dominican Republic. This day commemorates the retreat in 1844 of the Haitians who had controlled the country.
Irish American Heritage Month. First proclaimed by Congress in 1995, Irish American Heritage Month celebrates the many achievements and contributions made to American culture by persons of Irish heritage. Each year the president of the United States issues a proclamation declaring the month of March to be Irish American Heritage Month.
National Women's History Month. This was established by presidential proclamation to draw attention to and rectify the limited focus on woman in historical studies.
Granting of citizenship to Puerto Ricans (1917): United States. On this date the United States Congress passed the Jones Act, which conferred U.S. citizenship on Puerto Ricans and gave them the right to elect representatives to both houses of the territorial legislature.
Baha'i Fast (3/2-3/20): Baha'i. For nineteen days each year from March 2 to March 20 Baha’is refrain from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset. This is a time for reflection on one’s spiritual progress. Those exempt from fasting include the ill, pregnant or nursing women, and people under 15 or over 70 years old.
Independence Day: Ghana. On this date in 1957, the British territories of the Gold Coast and Togoland became the independent nation of Ghana.
International Women's Day: International. First designated as the last Sunday in February by the Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1910, it was later changed to be uniformly celebrated on March 8 to honor women's role in the Russian Revolution.
New Year: Sikh. This begins the new year 542 of the Nanakshahi Era for the Sikhs, one of the largest religious groups in India. The first year of the Nanakshahi Era is 1469, the year of birth of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak.
Bikarami Samvat (Lunar New Year): Hindu. This celebrates the beginning of the lunar new year 2067.
Chetra Navratras begins: Hindu.
St. Patrick's Day: Ireland. Tradition holds that Ireland's patron saint died on this date in A.D. 493 at the age of 106. The anniversary of his death is celebrated in Ireland as a national holiday, with green, the color of the day, signifying undying gratitude to the memory of St. Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland. The shamrock is worn to commemorate its use by the saint as a symbol of the Trinity. St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by people of Irish descent all over the world as an expression of pride in their heritage.
Chichen Itza Festival: Mexico. This festival is celebrated on the vernal and autumnal equinoxes at the ancient Mayan Pyramid of Kukulkan. When the mid-afternoon sunlight hits the stairway on these days, it creates shadows that look like the body of a serpent creeping downward until it joins the serpent’s head carved in stone at the bottom.
Ostara (Vernal Equinox): Pagan and Wiccan. This is the Sabbat observed on the vernal equinox.
Independence Day: Tunisia. This holiday commemorates the treaty of March 20, 1956, by which France recognized Tunisia as a sovereign nation.
Emancipation Day: Puerto Rico. On this day in 1873 the Spanish colonial government of Puerto Rico abolished slavery, fulfilling the commitment made after the Lares uprising of 1868.
Republic Day: Pakistan. In its struggle for independence from Great Britain, India had an internal conflict as well between its Hindu and Muslim populations, each wanting a separate area over which it could rule. On this day in 1940, the All Indian Muslim League passed the Lehore Resolution, which called for a separate state for the Muslims of British India. In 1947, under the provisions of the Indian Independence Act from Great Britain, two states, a predominantly Hindu India and a predominantly Muslim Pakistan, were established. On this day in 1956, Pakistan declared itself an Islamic republic.
Independence Day: Greece. During the early 19th century, Greeks throughout the world joined a secret society, the Philikê Hetairia (Friendly Association), whose purpose was to collect money and arms for a revolution to free Greece from Turkish rule. In March of 1821 the head of the organization, Alexander Ypsilanti, entered Turkish territory with a group of armed followers and declared the independence of Greece. Although his uprising was crushed, it is remembered as the first event in Greece's struggle for independence.
April Fool’s Day: (United States) The origins of April Fool's Day are uncertain. Some see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while others believe it stems from the adoption of a new calendar.
Malvinas Day (Falkland Islands): Argentina. This day is a tribute to the fallen soldiers in the Falklands War, which broke out on April 2, 1982 when Argentine forces invaded and occupied the disputed islands, claiming them for Argentina. The United Kingdom retaliated, and the Argentine forces surrendered in June.
Bikarami Samvat (Hindu): This celebrates the beginning of the lunar new year 2068.
National Day: Senegal. This day commemorates Senegal's gaining full independence from France in 1960.
Martyrs' Day: Tunisia. This day honors those who fought for freedom against French rule.
Valor Day: Philippines. This marks the anniversary of the forced march to a prison camp of 70,000 Americans and Filipinos captured on Bataan in 1942 by the Japanese. Only 54,000 prisoners survived the march; 7,000-10,000 died and the rest escaped into the jungle.
Pan American Day: Latin America. Pan American Day has been observed each year since 1931 on April 14 by the twenty-one American republics. The holiday honors the bonds of friendship between the United States and the nations of Latin America.
Vaisakhi (New Year): Hindu. This celebrates the beginning of the solar new year 1932 of the Saka era, which dates from the ascendancy of Emperor Salivahana in A.D. 78. On this day, Hindus ritually bathe in the Ganges River to purify themselves.
Palm Sunday (Christian): On the Sunday before Easter, Christians remember Jesus' last entry into Jerusalem, when his way was strewn with palms by those gathered to see him. Churches, therefore are decorated with palm.
Festival of Ridvan: Baha'i. On the first, ninth, and twelfth day of the Baha'i month of Ridvan (April 21, 29, and May 2), Baha'is commemorate the declaration of Baha'u'llah in 1863 of his mission as the last messenger of God to the world.
Earth Day: International.
Easter (Christian): This is the holiest day for Christians. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus after he was crucified and died in Jerusalem. Easter is a joyous holiday, since it marks for Christians the fulfillment of the Biblical prophecy of the coming of the Messiah.
Liberation Day: Italy. This commemorates the day in 1945 that Italy was liberated from German occupation during World War II.
Liberation Day: Portugal. This commemorates the bloodless revolution in 1974 that overthrew the dictatorial regime of Antonío Salazar and the reestablishment of democracy.
Sinai Liberation Day: Egypt. On this day in 1982, Israel completed its withdrawal of troops from the Sinai peninsula, which it had occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War, in accordance with the terms of the 1979 peace treaty drawn up between Egypt and Israel following the Camp David Accords.
Freedom Day: South Africa. This commemorates the day in 1994 when for the first time all South Africans had the right to vote.
Independence Day: Sierra Leone. This day commemorates Sierra Leone's gaining independence from Great Britain in 1961.
Showa Day (Showa No Hi): Japan. This day commemorates the birthday of former Emperor Hirohito, known after his death as Emperor Showa from the Showa period (1926-1989) during which he reigned.
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month began in 1979 as Asian Heritage Week, established by congressional proclamation. From then until 1993, the period for recognizing Asian/Pacific Americans was created by congressional proclamation each year. On October 23, 1992 May of each year became Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.
Jewish American Heritage Month. On April 20, 2006, President George W. Bush issued a presidential proclamation designating the month of May as Jewish American Heritage Month.
Older Americans Month. Older Americans Month was established by presidential proclamation to honor the contributions of older Americans to society.
May Day (Labor Day): International. In many countries the first day of May is celebrated as a spring festival, a time to celebrate the rebirth of life after winter.
Holocaust Memorial Day (Jewish): This day has been designated by Israel’s Knesset, or Parliament, as a memorial to the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis in their program of mass extermination of all Jews in Germany and the countries under German occupation.
Lag B'Omer: Jewish. This holiday occurs thirty-three days from the second night of Passover, called the "counting of the omer," during the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuoth and allows a break from the usual prohibitions during this period, such as having weddings. It is a minor holiday and work is permitted.
Constitution Day (Kempo Kinen Bi): JapanThis holiday celebrates the establishment of the current constitution in 1947.
Constitution Day: Poland. This holiday commemorates the passage in 1791 of Poland’s first constitution, which was the second written constitution in the world after that of the United States and the first in Europe. It provided for the separation of powers between the executive (the king and his ministers), the legislative (the Sejm), and the judicial branches of government.
Youth Day: People’s Republic of China.
Greenery Day (Midori No Hi): JapanThis day is dedicated to the environment and is celebrated as a day to appreciate nature.
Restoration of Independence: Latvia.
Cinco de Mayo: Mexico. The French attempted to occupy Mexico and make it part of its empire under Napoleon III. On the morning of May 5, 1862, under General Ignacio Zaragoza, five thousand ill-equipped Mestizo and Zapotec Indians defeated the French army in what came to be known as the Batalla de Puebla, which later was called Cinco de Mayo.
Coronation Day: Thailand. On May 5, 1950, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was crowned as Rama IX, the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty. Every year, the Thai people rejoice and express their affection and loyalty to him by organizing a celebration on his coronation day.
Liberation Day: Netherlands. This day marks the end of the World War II Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in 1945.
National Day of Prayer: United States. On April 17, 1952 a National Day of Prayer was officially signed into law by President Truman, and in 1988 President Reagan signed a bill into law decreeing that the National Day of Prayer should be held on the first Thursday in May.
Mother’s Day: Finland, United States. Public holiday.
Victory Day, WWII: France. This holiday commemorates the defeat of the German army in Europe in 1945.
Our Lady of Fatima Day: Portugal. This commemorates the miracle of the vision of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to shepherd children on May 13, 1917.
Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka (1954): African American. On this date the Supreme Court unanimously issued its historic decision holding that segregation in public education was a denial of the right to equal protection under the law and directing the lower courts to oversee the desegregation of the nation’s schools "with all deliberate speed." This decision, which established the principle that segregation is unconstitutional, formed the legal basis for the civil rights movement of the late 1950s and 1960s.
National Day: Norway. On this date, Norwegians celebrate the 1814 signing of the Norwegian Constitution, signifying Norway’s breaking away from its 434-year union with Denmark.
Independence Day: Cuba. This day commemorates the proclamation of the Cuban Republic in 1902, whereby Cuba declared its independence from the United States, which had occupied the country since the Spanish-American War of 1898. In 1902 the Cuban people elected Tom’s Estrada Palma as the first president of the Republic of Cuba.
Declaration of the Bab: Baha’i. This holiday commemorates the Bab’s prediction in Shiraz, Persia, in 1844 of the imminent appearance of the new messenger of God.
Africa Day: Zambia, Zimbabwe. In these and some other African states, this is a holiday commemorating independence from colonial rule.
Independence Day: Jordan. This marks the day in 1946 that Jordan under the Hashemite Monarchy gained independence from Britain.
Independence Day: Republic of Georgia.
Visakaha (vye-sak-hah) Day: Buddhist. In the Theravada Buddhist tradition that predominates in Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and nirvana are all celebrated on this day.
Republic Day: Azerbaijan.
Republic Day: Nepal. On May 28, 2008, Nepal’s King Gyanendra was dethroned after a newly elected constituent assembly voted to abolish the country’s centuries-old monarchy, transforming the nation into a democratic, secular republic.
Restoration of Statehood Day: Armenia. On this day, Armenians celebrate the establishment in 1918 of the first republic following the genocide of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire and the collapse of the Russian Empire under the Czars.
Memorial Day observed: United States. Originally a day of remembrance for those who died for the Union in the Civil War, this national holiday, observed on the last Monday in May, now honors those who gave their lives in all wars.
Caribbean American Heritage Month. Caribbean American Heritage Month was first proclaimed in 2006. For centuries, Caribbean Americans have enriched our society and added to the strength of America. They have been leaders in government, sports, entertainment, the arts, and many other fields.
Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. On June 11, 1999, President William J. Clinton issued a presidential proclamation designating June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and the birth of the modern gay and lesbian civil rights movement.
Children's Day: People's Republic of China.
Children's Day: Laos.Public holiday.
Madaraka (Self-Rule) Day: Kenya.This marks the day in 1964 that Kenya attained self-rule as a republic with Jomo Kenyatta as its first president.
Granting of citizenship to American Indians (1924): United States. On this day, Congress extended the rights of citizenship to all American Indians born in the United States. Previously, only part of the American Indian population had been granted citizenship through treaties, statutes, naturalization, and service in the armed forces.
Republic Day: Italy. The Italian Republic was established on June 2, 1946, by a popular referendum in which the people chose a Republic over a Monarchy.
Anniversary of the 1979 Coup: Ghana.
Constitution Day: Denmark. This day commemorates Denmark's adoption of a constitutional monarchy in 1849, ending absolute rule by the monarchy.
Shavuot (Jewish): Shavuot, taking place seven weeks after Passover, is the festival of the first fruits, and the weeks between are the most important in harvesting season. The holiday is also celebrated in commemoration of the day when Moses received the Torah and the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.
Accession of King Abdullah: Jordan. This day commemorates the accession on June 9, 1999 of His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein, who assumed his constitutional powers as Monarch of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on February 7, 1999, the day his father, the late King Hussein, passed away.
Independence Day: Philippines. On this day in 1898 the Philippines declared its independence from Spain. Many Filipinos in the United States also celebrate this day.
Puerto Rican Day Parade: United States. Since 1958, New York and other major cities have held parades on the second Sunday in June to celebrate the contributions of the Puerto Rican people to the history of their city.
Flag Day: United States.
Independence Day: Iceland. Iceland declared full independence from Denmark in 1944, becoming the Republic of Iceland. The date of June 17 was chosen as the official holiday because it was the birthday of Jón Sigurõsson (1811-1879), the nineteenth-century leader of Iceland’s peaceful campaign for independence.
Evacuation Day: Egypt. This marks the proclamation of the Egyptian republic after a military coup deposed King Farouk in 1952.
Feast of Corpus Christi (Roman Catholic): The Feast of Corpus Christi is a moveable Christian feast commemorating the Holy Eucharist. Observed on the first Thursday after Trinity Sunder, Corpus Christi mirrors Holy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter and the day on which Christians believe the first Eucharist, The Last Supper, took place.
Manila Day: Philippines. On June 24, 1571 Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi established a permanent settlement in Manila, proclaiming it the island’s capital. In 1574 King Philip II of Spain commemorated the city, giving it the title Insigne y Siempre Leal Ciudad de España ("Distinguished and Ever Loyal City of Spain").
Battle of Little Bighorn (1876): American Indian. On this date at Little Bighorn River, General George A. Custer was killed and his command annihilated by combined forces of Sioux and Cheyenne Indians. The determined resistance of the nomadic Plains tribes in the protection of their hunting grounds and way of life earned them a number of military victories before they were defeated by the stronger U.S. government forces.
Stonewall Rebellion (1969): Gay, Lesbian. In the early morning of this day, New York City police entered a gay bar on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village and began harassing and taunting the patrons with anti-gay comments. The patrons fought back in a protest that lasted for the next three days. For many gays and lesbians, this protest marks the first organized effort in the United States by gays and lesbians to openly gain equality under the law.
National Veterans Day: United Kingdom.
Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party: People's Republic of China.
Canada Day: Canada. Known as Dominion Day until 1982, this day celebrates the confederation of upper and lower Canada into the Dominion of Canada in 1867.
Republic Day: Ghana. On this day in 1960, Ghana gained independence within the Commonwealth of Great Britain.
Independence Day: United States. This commemorates the day in 1776 that delegates of the Thirteen Colonies signed the Declaration of Independence announcing their separation from Great Britain and the establishment of the United States of America.
Martyrdom of the Bab: Baha'i. This holiday commemorates the arrest, torture, imprisonment, and eventual execution of the Bab in Tabriz, Persia, in 1850. The Bab's body is buried at the Baha'i temple in Haifa, Israel.
Battle of the Boyne (Orangemen's Day): United Kingdom (Northern Ireland). The Battle of the Boyne was a turning point in the war between the deposed King James II of England and VII of Scotland and his son-in-law and successor, William III, for the English, Scottish, and Irish thrones. The battle took place on July 12, 1690 outside of the town of Drogheda on Ireland's east coast. Although not militarily decisive, its symbolic importance has made it one of the most infamous battles in British a nd Irish history.
Bastille (bass-steel) Day: France. This celebrates the fall of the Bastille prison, marking the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789 and the eventual end of monarchial rule and the creation of a French Republic.
First Special Olympics Games (1968): People with Disabilities, United States. On this date in 1968 the first Special Olympics, founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver as an athletic competition for children and adults with cognitive disabilities, opened at Soldier Field in Chicago. The first Special Olympics had 1,000 participants from the United States and Canada; by 1995, this competition had expanded to include Winter Special Olympics (first held in 1977 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado) and to involve 7,000 participants from all 50 states and 143 countries.
Independence Day: Colombia. Beginning in 1810, Simón Bolívar led a war of independence from Spain, which ended with his victory over Spanish forces on this day in 1819. This day is celebrated in Colombia as a national holiday.
Pioneer Day: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This marks the day in 1847 that Brigham Young led other believers in the teachings of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, into the valley of the Great Salt Lake, where they would establish the center of their church and build Salt Lake City.
Americans with Disabilities Act (1990): People with Disabilities, United States. Signed into law on this date, this milestone of U.S. civil rights legislation protects people with disabilities from discrimination in the areas of employment, transportation, and public accommodation. (Earlier legislation had addressed discrimination in housing.) The law requires a wide range of public and private establishments to make new and renovated facilities accessible to people with disabilities and to make "readily achievable" changes to existing facilities in order to increase accessibility.
José Celso Barbosa's Birthday: Puerto Rico. This public holiday honors José Celso Barbosa (1857?1921), physician, social analyst, and politician, who in 1899 founded the Republican Party of Puerto Rico that advocated statehood for the island.
National Day (Feast of the Throne): Morocco. This commemorates the enthronement of the current king of Morocco, King Muhammad VI.
Ramadan (Islamic): This begins the first day of the Islamic month of Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim year. The festival of Laylat al Qadr occurs during Ramadan and commemorates the beginning of the revelation of the Qurrsquo;an to the Prophet Muhammad.
Emancipation Day (Bahamas)
Our Lady of the Angels: Costa Rica. Public holiday.
Tisha Brsquo;Av (Jewish)
Women's Day: South Africa. This marks the day of the 1956 march of women in Pretoria to protest the system of passes needed to travel from one part of the country to another.
Pueblo Revolt (1680): American Indian. On this date the Pueblo peoples of the colony of New Mexico rose in revolt against the Spanish friars, soldiers, and colonists. Pueblo leaders planned a coordinated uprising, which began on this day with simultaneous attacks on many Spanish settlements and came to an end on August 21.
Independence Day: Ecuador. On August 10, 1809, the first proclamation of independence from Spain was heard in Quito.
Raksha Bandhan (Hindu)
Independence Day: Pakistan. After a 60-year formal and generally unarmed struggle for independence from the British Empire, Pakistan came into existence at the stroke of midnight on August 14-15, 1947.
Liberation Day: North Korea. This commemorates the surrender of Japan in 1945, ending World War II and the Japanese occupation of Korea.
Liberation Day: South Korea. This day marks both the Japanese surrender in 1945 ending the Japanese occupation and the creation in 1948 of an independent South Korean government.
Anniversary of the Founding of Panama City: Panama. The anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal to inter-oceanic traffic on August 15, 1914 is also the anniversary of the founding of Old Panama, on August 15, 1519, by Charles V of Spain, as the site of the Spanish government in the province of Panama.
Restoration Day: Dominican Republic. This commemorates the proclamation of the liberation of the Dominican Republic from Spain on this day in 1863, marking the beginning of the national war of restoration. This led to the formation of a provisional government in Santiago on September 14, 1863, which was finally recognized by Spain on July 11, 1865.
Independence Day: Indonesia. Nationalists declared Indonesia an independent nation after the withdrawal of the Japanese in 1949. The Netherlands, which had ruled Indonesia, ceded sovereignty to an independent government on this day. Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous country and has the world's largest Muslim population.
Revolution Day: Morocco. This day commemorates the beginning of the 1953 “Revolution of the King and the People” against the French occupation, when King Muhammad V was exiled to Corsica with his family for advocating a revolutionary struggle for Moroccan independence. King Muhammad returned from exile in 1955 and successfully negotiated with France for the independence of Morocco. In 1956 Morocco became an independent kingdom.
Women's Equality Day: United States. A law passed by Congress in 1974 sets this day aside to mark the certification in 1920 of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting discrimination in voting based on sex.
Independence Day: Moldova.
Anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising (8/29/44-10/28/44): Slovak Republic. This commemorates the August 29, 1944 armed resistance to the fascist wartime government of Slovakia, which was allied with Nazi Germany. The uprising continued for two months until it was quashed by German troops on October 28, 1944.
Eid a.-Fitr (Islamic): This holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan, begins at the sighting of the first lunar crescent following the new moon and is the time for breaking fast. This is a three-day festival of feasting, buying and wearing new clothes, and celebrations.
National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15-October 15. Starting in 1968 as National Hispanic Heritage Week and incorporating September 15 and 16, the independence days for Central American nations and Mexico, respectively, the period was expanded in 1988 to National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Independence Day: Vietnam. This marks the day in 1945 of the surrender of Japan, ending World War II, and the creation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
Defense of Pakistan Day: Pakistan. This day is celebrated to commemorate the military’s role in defense of the nation, and especially the successful defense of Pakistan in its war with India in 1965.
Patriot Day: United States. On the morning of September 11, 2001, the United States suffered the worst terrorist attack in its history when a group of terrorists belonging to the militant Islamic al-Qaeda network hijacked four commercial airliners, crashing one into each of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, one into the Pentagon just outside of Washington, D.C., and one into a field in Pennsylvania in an aborted attempt to crash into the White House or U. S. Capitol building.
Grandparents Day: United States.
Chusok (South Korea): One of the most celebrated Korean holidays is a three-day celebration during which families gather together to honor their ancestors and give thanks for the autumn harvest.
Jan E. Matzeliger (1852-1889): African American. Inventor. Matzeliger produced machines that revolutionized the shoe industry. By using the machine he patented in 1883, cobblers could make 1,000 pairs of shoes in one day.
Independence Day (El Día de Independencia): Mexico.On September 16, 1810, in the small town of Dolores, in the province of Guanajuato in Mexico, a handful of people were summoned by a parish priest to take up arms against the Spanish colonial government.
Constitution Day and Citizenship Day: United States. On September 17, 1787, the final draft of the U.S. Constitution was signed in Philadelphia by delegates to the Constitutional Convention replacing the Articles of Confederation as the governing document of the newly formed country.
Independence Day: Chile. This holiday celebrates the proclamation of independence from Spain on September 18, 1810, although Chile would not earn total independence until 1818.
Our Lady of Las Mercedes: Dominican Republic. Public holiday.
Heritage Day: South Africa. This day is set aside to reinforce the importance of African culture and heritage in the lives of South African people, recognizing that they are powerful agents for promulgating a South African identity, fostering reconciliation, and celebrating diversity. The government determines a theme for each year’s celebrations.
Hoshanah Rabbah: Jewish. Hoshanah Rabbah, from the Aramaic meaning “Great Hoshanah,” is the seventh and last day of Sukkoth. It is known as the day of the final sealing of judgment, which began on Rosh Hashanah.
Rosh Hashanah (Jewish): This holiday begins at sundown on the evening before the first full day of the holiday, and it signifies the beginning of the Days of Awe, a period of serious reflections about the past year and the year to come. It is a time for asking for forgiveness from both God and people and for committing oneself to live a better life in the year to come. Traditionally, this is the time that God decides the fate of each Jew in the new year.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month. By presidential proclamation in 1988, October has been designated to enhance public awareness of those with disabilities and encourage their full integration into the work force.
National Italian American Heritage Month. Every year the president of the United States signs an executive order designating the month of October as National Italian American Heritage Month, in recognition of the many achievements and contributions made to American culture by persons of Italian heritage.
German Unity Day: Germany. After World War II, Germany was divided between West Germany, under a democratic government, and East Germany, under a communist government. With the collapse of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the final reunification of Germany under a democratic government took place on this day in 1990.
National Foundation Day (Kaech'on-jol): South Korea. This commemorates the founding of the first Korean state in 2333 B.C.E. by Tan'gun.
Republic Day (Portugal)
Chung Yeung Festival (China)
Yom Kippur (Jewish): The ten days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur are known as the Days of Awe or the Days of Repentance. During this time, Jews are to remind themselves of their sins and seek forgiveness for their wrongdoings.
Columbus Day observed: United States. This is the day set aside for observing the anniversary of the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World.
National Coming Out Day/March on Washington (1987): Gay, Lesbian. On October 11, the largest gay and lesbian gathering of its time?some estimate as many as 200,000?600,000 people?took place to protest anti-gay discrimination and demand a stronger federal government response to the AIDS crisis.
Our Lady Aparecida: Brazil. Public holiday.
National Day: Spain. This holiday commemorates the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus and Spain's gaining of a colonial empire.
Hoshanah Rabbah (Jewish)
United Nations Day: United Nations. This day commemorates the founding of the United Nations in 1945.
Chulalongkorn Day (Thailand): This day commemorates the death in 1910 of King Chulalongkorn the Great, who abolished slavery in Thailand.
Ochi Day: Greece. This day commemorates the resistance of the Greeks during World War II to the Italian army’s invasion in 1940. On October 28, 1940, Italy issued Greece an ultimatum?either Greece was to allow Axis forces to enter Greek territory and occupy strategic locations or the country would face war. In response to this ultimatum, General Ioannis Metaxa is reputed to have replied ?Ochi!? (?No!?), thereby bringing Greece into World War II on the Allied side. The day is commemorated with military and naval parades and memorial services.
Halloween: United Kingdom, United States. This festival, which takes its name from All Hallows Eve (the eve of the feast of All Saints), originated among the Celts of Britain and Ireland, for whom October 31 was new year’s eve. On this night it was believed that the souls of the dead revisited their earthly homes, and huge bonfires were set to frighten away evil spirits. With the rise of Christianity, the autumn festival came to be associated with All Saints Day. Secular Halloween customs reflect its pagan origins and were introduced to the United States by immigrants, especially the Irish, in the nineteenth century. Today the most widely observed Halloween custom is a benign version of "trick or treat," in which costumed children go from door to door collecting sweets or money for UNICEF.
All Saints Eve: Sweden. Public holiday.
Reformation Day: Protestant. This day commemorates the Protestant Reformation, the movement that led to the establishment of the Protestant denominations of Christianity.
Samhain (sow-in): Pagan and Wiccan. Samhain, the most important of the Sabbats, marks the end of the third and final harvest in the Wheel of the Year. It is a time to remember the dead and to celebrate the cycle of life.
National American Indian Heritage Month. The term "American Indian" incorporates hundreds of different tribes and approximately 250 languages. Starting in 1976 as Native American Awareness Week, the period was expanded by Congress and approved in August 1990 by designating the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month.
All Saints Day: Christian. This Christian holiday celebrates the memory of the Christian saints and martyrs, and also of family members who have died.
Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos): Mexico. Beginning on the evening of October 31 and celebrated through November 2 by Mexicans and Mexican Americans, this holiday has its roots in two traditions: the Christian observance of All Saints and All Souls Day, and two Aztec festivals in which the souls of the dead were welcomed back to visit those who remembered them.
Anniversary of the Crowning of Haile Selassie: Rastafarian. This sacred holiday for the Rastafarians commemorates the coronation of Ras (Prince) Tafari Makonnen as Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia on November 2, 1930.
Day of the Dead (second day of observance): Mexico.
Flag Day: Panama. Public holiday.
Constitution Day: Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic’s first constitution was adopted on November 6, 1844.
Eid al-Adha (The Feast of Sacrifice) (11/16-11/18): Islamic. This religious observance commemorates the story of Abraham and Ishmail as told in the Qur’an. God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his only son as a proof of his faith. Before Abraham completed the sacrifice, God stopped him and provided a ram for sacrifice.
General Election Day (United States)
World Freedom Day: United States. First declared by President George W. Bush in 2001, World Freedom Day commemorates the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, symbolizing the end of the Cold War and the liberation of Central and Eastern Europe from communism.
Independence Day: Poland. The kingdom of Poland had been partitioned among Austria, Prussia, and Russia since 1772. After World War I ended in 1918, Poland was declared independent, with Josef Pilsudski as its first head of state.
Veterans Day: United States. The holiday was established to honor the millions who had died in the war and to serve as a day of reflection and rededication to world peace. In 1954, the U.S. Congress changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day, and it now honors all who have served in all the nation’s military.
Discovery of Puerto Rico Day: Puerto Rico. This holiday commemorates the discovery of Puerto Rico by Christopher Columbus in 1493.
Thanksgiving Day: United States. This legal holiday in all territories of the United States is a time for giving thanks for the harvest and for the blessings the year has brought.
Al Hijrah (Islamic)
Education for All Handicapped Children Act (1975) : People with Disabilities, United States. Signed into U.S. law on this date, this act establishes the right of every child with a disability to a free and appropriate public education. It requires states to identify such children and develop individualized education programs for them, and to provide educational services in the least restrictive environment possible. The law also protects the rights of such children and their parents in educational decisions.
World AIDS Day: International. Also known as United Nations World AIDS Day, this day has been declared by the World Health Organization as a time to increase education and awareness of AIDS.
Independence Day: Portugal. This commemorates the restoration of Portugal's independence in 1640 after a 60-year period of union with Spain.
Hanukkah (12/2-12/9): Jewish. This holiday commemorates the victory of the Jewish people, led by the Maccabee family, over the Syrian Greeks in 165 B.C.E. This victory marked the end of a three-year period of religious persecution, restored Jewish independence, and ensured the survival of monotheism (belief in one God). The holiday ends at sundown on December 9.
Independence Day: Laos. The communist Pathet Lao, a nationalist political movement, overthrew the royalist government of Laos, forcing King Savang Vatthana to abdicate on December 2, 1975. After taking control of the country, they renamed it the Lao People's Democratic Republic.
Discovery Day: Haiti. This day commemorates the discovery by Christopher Columbus of Haiti in 1492.
National Day (Thailand): On this holiday the people of Thailand renew their commitment to democracy while celebrating the birthday of the king with religious ceremonies in the temples.
Constitution Day: Spain. After the death of Spain's dictator, Francisco Franco, in 1975, Spain became a democracy and on this day in 1978 a new constitution was ratified by referendum.
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day: United States. In the early morning hours of December 7, 1941, the United States suffered a surprise attack by the Japanese naval and air forces at the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which left 2,403 Americans dead and 1,178 wounded. The attack at Pearl Harbor was the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history until the al-Qaeda terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
Feast of the Immaculate Conception: Roman Catholic. This celebrates the Roman Catholic belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was conceived free from original sin.
Mother's Day: Panama. Public holiday.
Human Rights Day: United Nations. On this day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first such statement of principle by an international body. The document, conceived as "a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations," sets forth the basic civil, economic, political, and social rights that should be guaranteed to every person.
Constitution Day: Russia. The new Russian Constitution was adopted on this day in 1993 by referendum. The constitution grants sweeping powers to the president, making him the person to name the government while the parliament is restricted to participating in setting the national agenda and, most importantly, passing the yearly budget.
Fiesta de Guadalupe (fee-esta-guahd-ah-loohpa): Mexico. This is the feast day of the patron saint of Mexico. The shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is Mexico’s most sacred religious site. December 12 is the anniversary of the day on which Juan Diego, an Aztec peasant, is said to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary, who ordered him to go and tell the Bishop of Mexico to build a church on that spot.
Reconciliation Day: South Africa. Afrikaners traditionally celebrated this as the Day of the Vow, commemorating the day that a group of Voortrekkers defeated a Zulu army at the Battle of Blood River, while African National Congress activists commemorated it as the day in 1961 when the ANC started to arm its soldiers to overthrow apartheid. Now with the advent of democracy in South Africa, this day is set aside to focus on overcoming the conflicts of the past and building a new nation.
Hanukkah (Jewish): This holiday, often misunderstood as the "Jewish Christmas" since it occurs in December, commemorates the victory of the Jewish people over the Syrian Greeks in 165 B.C.E. The holiday is celebrated by lighting a candle on each of the eight days of celebration. The holiday ends at sundown on December 28
Victory Day: Egypt. This day marks the ending of the Suez Crisis of 1956, which resulted from President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s nationalization of the Suez Canal Company to raise revenue for building the Aswan Dam.
Christmas: Christian. Most Christians observe Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and it is celebrated as a public holiday in many countries worldwide. Eastern Orthodox Christians who follow the Orthodox New Calendar, such as the Greek and Cypriot Orthodox Churches, observe Christmas on this date.
Kwanzaa (quanza) (rhymes with wanza): African American. First celebrated on December 26, 1966, the festival of Kwanzaa was created in the United States by scholar and cultural activist Dr. Maulana Karenga. Patterned after harvest festivals in Africa, Kwanzaa derives its name from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning “first fruits.”
St. Stephen's Day: Roman Catholic. Public holiday.
Boxing Day observed: United Kingdom. Observed in the United Kingdom and in many countries of the Commonwealth of Nations, this is the day when people give gifts or money to tradespeople and others who provide service, in appreciation for the work they have done over the past year.
Rizal Day (reezahl-day): Philippines. This public holiday celebrated on the anniversary of his death honors José Rizal (1861-1896), a hero for Philippine revolutionaries such as Andres Bonifacio. He is considered by many as the first Asian nationalist.
The Diversity Calendar is subject to change. If you would like to add other holidays and/or observances to the calendar, please email your information to EAOffice@miami.edu or contact Equality Administration at (305) 284-3064 or (305) 243-7203.